Friday, October 29, 2010

Predators Lose to Blues 3-0 in First Regulation Loss

Everyone knew that the Nashville Predators would not survive an 82 game schedule without a regulation loss but no one was ready for the streak to end.

Jaroslav Halak played a near perfect game as the Blues won 3-0 and got payback from their only regulation loss two weeks earlier when the Preds won 4-3.

The Preds remained competitive in the contest until the double whammy of the Blues' second goal and a questionable charging call against Jordin Tootoo took the wind out of the team's sails with less than eight minutes remaining in the game.

The game started with both teams skating well and few stoppages in the first two periods. The Predators had great chances early. At 5:38 in the first, J.P. Dumont had a great opportunity as he found himself alosne in front of the net but Halak stoned him.

At 11:41 Patric Hornqvist had a breakaway that Halak appeared to read the entire way. For the first period, the Blues outshot the Preds 15-8.

Alexander Steen scored what was the eventual game winning goal at 12:56 in the second period. It was a short-handed goal that came four seconds after Alexander Sulzer came out of the box with the Predators having 30 seconds left on a power play.

For the second period, shots were much closer with St. Louis having a 12-11 edge.

St. Louis appeared to come out on a mission in the third period. Their inspired play neutralized the Predator attack. Patrik Berglund scored the Blues second goal at 12:48 to put the Preds in a deep hole.

The game clincher came a few seconds later at 13:11 when Jordin Tootoo was called for charging and given a five minute minor and a game misconduct. The incident occurred when Jered Smithson and Tootoo sandwiched Carlo Colaiacovo as all three were going for a puck behind the Blues net.

On the ensuing power play, at 15:15, Matt D'Agostini scored to put the game completely out of reach at 3-0.

After the game, Jordin Tootoo was puzzled with the call against him, "My understanding is that it was a blow to the head but you look at the replay and it's shoulder on shoulder. It's a tough league to play in. You've got to keep your head up and when you hit someone hard the refs are going to take a second look at it. I'm speechless."

Barry Trotz also questioned the call on the Tootoo penalty, "I looked at it, charging, he didn't move his feet from the top of the circles in. I looked at it with the big emphasis on shots to the head, and I saw a shoulder to shoulder hit and to me, he didn't leave his feet so I'm a little bit confused on that and before I comment more I'll have to hear from the league. To me looking at the factors, I thought it was a pretty clean hit."

Trotz gave the Blues full credit for the win. "They did a real good job. They're number one in the league and that's just a little taste of what the Central Division is all about. They play a good team game, have the lowest goals against and also give you the least amount of shots in the league."

The Predators have little time to worry about the loss as they will leave for Detroit on Friday to prpare to face the Wings for the first time this season at 6 p.m. Central on Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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